Ronell Wilson, who was convicted in 2006 of killing two undercover police officers and sentenced to die by lethal injection in 2007, was sentenced to death once again. Police Commissioner hailed the decision, adding, "We hope that this measure of justice brings some solace to those family and friends who still grieve the terrible loss of Detectives Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin."
Andrews and Nemorin were part of an undercover gun buy-and-bust sting on Staten Island, where Wilson shot them, point-blank, in the back of their heads in 2003. Andrews, father of two, was shot first and Nemorin, father of three, was killed next, as he begged for his life. Wilson was found guilty of the murders in 2006 and sentenced to death in 2007, but the Staten Island Advance explains that yesterday's decision resulted from a "re-trial of the death-penalty phase for Wilson. In 2010, a federal appeals court, citing prosecutorial errors in closing arguments, overturned the death penalty for Wilson, whom a Brooklyn federal court jury, in January 2007, sentenced to die by lethal injection. The murder conviction stood."
The NY Times reports, "In choosing the death penalty, the jury unanimously found that prosecutors proved every element of their case, including that Mr. Wilson committed the murders for financial gain and that he poses a future danger." (Wilson apparently went through the detectives' pockets to look for cash.)
Prosecutors had depicted Wilson, now 31, as an inmate who terrorized fellow prisoners and possibly calculating enough to impregnate a prison guard. They also showed a video of Wilson refusing to be handcuffed in federal prison last year, yelling at guards to "Suck dick!" (the guards finally used a "distraction grenade"):
While Wilson's defense pointed to his troubled upbringingand mental incompetence (his mother pleaded for his life, telling the jury she was "out smoking crack, drinking"), prosecutor Celia Cohen said, "He’s not going to stop until he’s dead." According to the Advance, "In evaluating potential mitigating factors, the panel unanimously found Wilson was raised in an 'unstable and chaotic living environment,' was exposed to drugs and violence as a youngster, and was susceptible to negative peer influence. But only two of the 12 jurors deemed that his life has value, and only one juror believed the federal Bureau of Prisons could impose adequate restrictions on Wilson."
Michael Palladino, of the Detectives Endowment Association, said, "I think what the jury recognized is not only the severity of the crimes that were committed but also that Ronell Wilson is not going to change. He’s a thug. It’s in his DNA. He actually enjoys it."